Workshop topics

Southport discusses burning issues at community workshop

SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) – On Tuesday, the Town of Southport hosted a one-day community workshop to discuss the present and future of the region.

A major subject, should the mayor remain in office for two or four years?

According to an international study on the management of cities and counties, most municipalities elect the mayor for four years.

“It is important for the stability of any municipality that the mayor has more than a two-year term,” said Mayor Joe Pat Hatem. “I mean there’s no way to finish your rig in two years. There is a learning curve.

The City is also facing a labor shortage caused by the pandemic. City manager Gordan Hargrove said raising wages should be a priority.

“If we want to have a top-notch organization, we have to be able to retain our best talent and attract the best talent,” he said in his presentation.

Southport compares its salaries to towns and cities of similar size. While many were competitive, some positions like fire chief and public information officer were comparatively underpaid.

Board member Thomas Lombardi replied, “You can’t ask Oak Island to pay four or five dollars more per hour than we do. People are not going to stay here.

A question that the council voted to postpone to another day: to find other sources of revenue, such as paid parking or increased taxes.

“In 10 or 20 years, do we want to be exceptional or do we want to be an average or adequate city,” Hatem asked. “We want to be exceptional. And you need funding for that.

With major projects like upgrading the Southport sewage system, repaving Howe Street in March and protecting the waterfront from erosion, Hatem says the council wants to do everything in its power to lighten the burden on taxpayers.

“As you know, we have a loan of $ 30 million to help pay for this, so it has to come from our citizens. And if there are other ways to generate income and obtain grants, this is what we are looking for.

Although the City has made no decision today, each subject will be discussed at future public meetings.